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AmazonGrace

FBI raids Michael Cohen's office

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AmazonGrace

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/09/us/politics/fbi-raids-office-of-trumps-longtime-lawyer-michael-cohen.html

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.
 

Spoiler

 

The F.B.I. on Monday raided the office of President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, seizing records related to several topics including payments to a pornographic-film actress.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan obtained the search warrant after receiving a referral from the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, according to Mr. Cohen’s lawyer, who called the search “completely inappropriate and unnecessary.” The search does not appear to be directly related to Mr. Mueller’s investigation, but likely resulted from information he had uncovered and gave to prosecutors in New York.

“Today the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York executed a series of search warrants and seized the privileged communications between my client, Michael Cohen, and his clients,” said Stephen Ryan, his lawyer. “I have been advised by federal prosecutors that the New York action is, in part, a referral by the Office of Special Counsel, Robert Mueller.”

Mr. Cohen plays a role in aspects of the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. He also recently said he paid $130,000 to a pornographic-film actress, Stephanie Clifford, who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump. Ms. Clifford is known as Stormy Daniels.

Mr. Ryan said Mr. Cohen has cooperated with authorities and turned over thousands of documents to congressional investigators looking into Russian election meddling.

The payments to Ms. Clifford are only one of many topics being investigated, according to a person briefed on the search. The F.B.I. also seized emails, tax documents and business records, the person said.

The seized records include communications between Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen, which would likely require a special team of agents to review because conversations between lawyers and clients are protected from scrutiny in most instances.

 

 

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AmazonGrace

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onekidanddone

Well soccer practice cancelled so I'm back. I just hope Trump doesn't try and fire the U.S. attorney's working on this

 

 

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Cartmann99

As soon as I read this, that dumb video of him saying "Sez, who?" to the CNN host popped into my head. :pb_lol:

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Cartmann99

 

*grins evilly*

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Waffle Time
formergothardite

This cheered up my day considerably! I just really hope they are also looking into Pence because he is scary as fuck and no way he has clean hands. 

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onekidanddone
47 minutes ago, formergothardite said:

This cheered up my day considerably! I just really hope they are also looking into Pence because he is scary as fuck and no way he has clean hands. 

I'm called "worst case scenario girl" for a reason. I'm now anxious about a Muller firing. He did his classic "We'll see" and "People say I should" when asked about getting rid of the special counsel, and that often means he will do just that.

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AmazonGrace

The warrant wasn't by Mueller though, it was US Attorney's Office in New York.

So he's got a whole lotta people to fire.

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neurogirl
Posted (edited)

I cannot wait for 10-20 years from now when America has come through the other side and all of this makes a great political intrigue movie. 

...Please?

Edited by neurogirl

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Howl
Posted (edited)

Velvet antlered Rufus prancing on little cloven feet!  Lots of knock-knock jokes being generated at an unprecedented rate! 

 

 

Edited by Howl
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GreyhoundFan

Rachel Maddow has a former U.S. Attorney on. She is saying it is likely that Rosenstein likely signed off on the Cohen raid.

The WaPo has an annotated account of Dumpy's tirade after the raid. I can't quote because of the notes, but it's a good read.

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Wine time!
Destiny

The Orange Menace’s tantrum on this was both sad and hilarious at the same time.

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iweartanktops
4 hours ago, formergothardite said:

This cheered up my day considerably! I just really hope they are also looking into Pence because he is scary as fuck and no way he has clean hands. 

Right?! I was already having a pretty great day at work, but this put it over the edge! I feel like I should be popping bottles over here. :)

12 minutes ago, Destiny said:

The Orange Menace’s tantrum on this was both sad and hilarious at the same time.

Hilarious. He said it's unfair. Idiot. 

Also, I know this isn't actually Mueller, but I'm still celebrating another Mueller Monday :dance:

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AmazonGrace

 

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AmazonGrace

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/04/09/politics/preet-bharara-fbi-raid/index.html

Washington (CNN)Former US Attorney Preet Bharara said Monday that the FBI raids of Michael Cohen's office and hotel room were done by officials who were all "handpicked" by President Donald Trump.
 

Quote

 

"If the reporting is true, particularly the part about this being approved by the Southern District of New York Attorney's Office which I used to lead, are all people who are Republican, and all people who have basically been handpicked by Donald Trump," Bharara, now a senior CNN legal analyst, said on "The Situation Room."

Earlier, Trump slammed the raids affecting his personal attorney as a "disgraceful situation" and "an attack on our country." A White House official said Trump had been watching TV reports, and that the President knew about the raid before the news broke.

The Monday raids included the Loews Regency hotel where Cohen has been staying, according to a source familiar with the matter. There were approximately a dozen FBI agents involved, the source said.

"For folks who don't appreciate this, to do a search on an attorney's files, residence, office -- that's a very sensitive thing that requires the personal approval of the United States attorney himself in consultation with main Justice," Bharara said.

Stephen Ryan, a lawyer for Cohen, said in a statement that the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York had executed "a series of search warrants" and "seized the privileged communications" between Cohen and his clients. Ryan called the search "completely inappropriate and unnecessary," and said federal prosecutors had told him it stemmed partially from a referral by the office of special counsel Robert Mueller.

Bharara commented on the significance of the execution of the raid by the FBI, and the fact that it was conducted by the the Southern District of New York.

"It's being done because people think it's very serious, people think it's totally warranted and people think there's evidence of a significant enough nature that you're going to risk doing something sensitive like raiding a law office," Bharara said.

 

 

 

SAYS WHO?

Feds Are Treating Michael Cohen Like a Mob Lawyer, Trump Allies Say

Lawyers don’t usually get their offices raided—unless they’re (allegedly) in on the crime, too.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/feds-are-treating-michael-cohen-like-a-mob-lawyer-trump-allies-say

 

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AmazonGrace

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AmazonGrace
7 hours ago, neurogirl said:

I cannot wait for 10-20 years from now when America has come through the other side and all of this makes a great political intrigue movie. 

...Please?

 

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fraurosena

Great news to wake up to in the morning.

To search Michael Cohen’s home and office, the FBI had to clear a higher-than-normal bar

Quote

Here’s what we don’t know: We don’t know specifically what the FBI was looking for when it raided the office of Michael Cohen, high-profile attorney for the Trump Organization. We don’t know what they found; we don’t know what investigations might be bolstered or curtailed by the evidence they seized.

What we do know, though, is interesting enough. The raid, which covered Cohen’s office and, according to the Wall Street Journal, his home and a Manhattan hotel room, included the seizure of information about the payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels shortly before the 2016 election and it included communications between Cohen and President Trump — meaning it included communication between an attorney and his client.

That last point also means that the bar for obtaining a warrant was higher than normal.

An attorney for Cohen told The Washington Post that the search was related to an investigation referred to the Justice Department by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. In March, The Post reported that Cohen had caught Mueller’s eye, with the special counsel’s team questioning witnesses about Cohen’s actions and requesting documents from Trump’s attorney.

Monday’s raid, though, was conducted at the direction of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, not the special counsel. Last week, Mueller’s team revealed in a court filing that deputy attorney general Rod J. Rosenstein (who, in May 2017, appointed Mueller to serve in his current position) had outlined in a memo last August particular areas for the special counsel’s team to investigate. Mueller could expand those boundaries, but only after getting Rosenstein’s approval. In this case, it seems, Rosenstein referred the question to the U.S. attorney instead.

There are specific rules that come into play before the U.S. attorney would be granted a subpoena, as outlined in the U.S. Attorneys’ Manual. A section titled “Searches of Premises of Subject Attorneys” details six additional safeguards to ensure that the Justice Department isn’t unjustly violating attorney-client privilege. It applies to subject attorneys — people who are “suspect, subject or target” of an investigation. That distinction was highlighted last week when The Post reported that Mueller had informed Trump that the president wasn’t a target of the investigation, but only a subject of it. “Prosecutors view someone as a subject when that person has engaged in conduct that is under investigation but there is not sufficient evidence to bring charges,” we wrote at that point. In other words, Trump wasn’t necessarily about to face charges, but he was under investigation. The same, it seems, applies now to Cohen.

To obtain that search warrant, then, the U.S. attorney would have had to meet six conditions, according to the manual.

Before obtaining a search warrant, investigators had to try to obtain the evidence in another way, such as by subpoena. The authorization for the warrant had to come from either the U.S. attorney or an assistant attorney general. (Rosenstein is deputy attorney general, a higher position than assistant attorney general.) The prosecutor had to confer with the criminal division of the department before seeking the warrant. The team conducting the search had to “employ adequate precautions” to ensure that they weren’t improperly viewing privileged communications between Cohen and his clients. The search team would have included a “privilege team,” including lawyers and agents not working the case, which would work to ensure that investigators conducting the search didn’t see privileged communications. The investigators had to develop a review process for the seized material.

Even with those checks in place, the U.S. attorney wasn’t guaranteed a warrant. Search warrants granted to U.S. attorneys are approved by magistrate judges serving in U.S. District Court.

The question of what qualifies as privileged communication is complex. Not every communication between an attorney and a client is included. One type of communication that’s excluded: communications between an attorney and a client that might be predicated on committing or covering up a crime.

In a phone call with The Post, law professor Robert Weisberg, co-director of the Stanford University Criminal Justice Center, explained where the lines might be drawn.

“There is a crime-fraud exception to attorney-client privilege,” Weisberg said. “The affidavits that went into the warrant application — and possibly direct conversations with the judge — would have had to give at least prima facie reason to believe that the communications, even where they were privileged, give some indication that Cohen was involved in committing or planning some kind of fraud.”

“Obviously,” he added, “you won’t know until after you see the stuff if the crime-fraud exception applied.” But since you can’t prove that the exception applies until you see the actual communications, the U.S. attorney needed to offer evidence to the judge that such communications were likely. The process for obtaining a warrant in a search like this, he added, was similar to the higher burden required to obtain a wiretap.

In short: The Cohen search warrant almost certainly included decision-making or approval on the part of the second-highest-ranking person at the Justice Department (Rosenstein), a federal judge and the U.S. attorney or an assistant attorney general. Before it was executed, the team would have needed to check a number of boxes meant to reduce the likelihood of improperly seizing privileged material and to make the case to a judge that evidence of criminal behavior would probably be found.

We know, too, that this was an exceptional move by the government.

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hoipolloi

These two tweets put things well!

 

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fraurosena

It's a pretty ominous sign when this kind of thing is said on Faux News about the presidunce.

Fox News’ Judge Napolitano: FBI raid shows they could have ‘evidence of crimes by Cohen’ and possibly ‘the president’

Quote

Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano on Monday laid out the implications of an FBI raid on the office and home of longtime Donald Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, explaining that in order for a federal judge to green-light the raid, they had to believe “that among these seized documents is evidence of crimes by Mr. Cohen or Mr. Cohen and the president.”

Napolitano was speaking with Fox News host Neil Cavuto, who asked the judicial analyst to “make sense” of the news for him.

Napolitano pointed out that the first question people ask him is whether communications between Cohen and Trump are protected by attorney-client privilege, noting that’s not the case “if there’s a serious allegation of unlawful activity by the lawyer with the client.”

Napolitano explained that in this case, the lawyer is Cohen and his client is “his only client— the president of the United States.” The judge noted Cohen’s office is located on the 26th floor of Trump Tower and is hardly the “traditional” or “discreet” set-up one would expect from a lawyer.

“He works for Donald Trump the person, the Trump Organization and it’s various entities,” Napolitano said. “And that, as far as I understand from sources, is all he works for.”

Napolitano then detailed what the FBI would have gone through to secure warrant to raid Cohen’s home and business.

“There must be some evidence presented to a federal judge here in New York City sufficient to persuade that judge to sign a search warrant to permit the FBI, in broad daylight, to raid an attorney’s office—particularly when that attorney has one client and it happens to be the president of the United States,” Napolitano said.

“That evidence would have to be such as to persuade a neutral observer, the federal judge, that it is more likely than not that among these seized documents is evidence of crimes by Mr. Cohen or Mr. Cohen and the president,” he added.

[video of the exchange]

 

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fraurosena

While we're all focussed on what it could all mean for the presidunce (and rightfully so), it's also good to realize that the RNC could also be in hot water.

  1. If there is something to be found out about the RNC's finances (and I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if there is) then I don't think the R's on the Hill will be handing over that umbrella of protection to Mueller any time soon.
     
  2. An additional reason why Mueller deferred this raid to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York could be to ensure that this (part of the) investigation will be continued in the eventuality of his dismissal.
     
  3. Another reason for the deferral could be that it prevents the possibility of a presiduncial pardon for Cohen.

 

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Howl
Posted (edited)

Another reason for the deferral could be that it prevents the possibility of a presiduncial pardon for Cohen.

Disclaimer: I'm not a law professional nor do I play one on Law and Order, but this raid was generated out of a US Attorney's office, not a state office.  Wouldn't that place it within reach of Trump's pardon power, which is absolute?

It's a good time to revisit this relatively brief Rolling Stone article from summer 2017 that reviews the scope and nature of presidential pardons, but to summarize: Trump can pardon anyone for anything for any reason at any time, as long as it is a Federal issue/crime.  

Trump and Presidential Pardons: What You Need to Know Why Donald Trump Jr. was comfortable seemingly admitting to a federal crime on Twitter

ETA: My mind blew up this morning.  Circuits are fried.  I just can't process any more information on trying to sort out all things Cohen, like how he shows up in the Steele dossier, but no one seems to certain that he went to the Kremlin, so that element of the Steele dossier wasn't included in a FISA warrant over.....something something.  But yes, Mondays will never be the same. 

And an odd detail: Michael Cohen is married to an "ethnic Ukrainian." 

Edited by Howl

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onekidanddone
Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, AmazonGrace said:

Feds Are Treating Michael Cohen Like a Mob Lawyer, Trump Allies Say

Because he is a mom lawyer. I have to log into my office lap top and start work now. I have a ton of work to do today, but it is going to be near impossible to concentrate and not get pulled to switch back my personal computer. 

ETA: I hope Mikey has to send out change of address cards for his move to Federal Prison.  And absolutely no Club Fed for him either. As super max as them get for this guy.  

Unless he wants to cop a plea and get out of a chain gang, then he can flip for a slightly less harsh punishment. Yea, him flipping would be cool.

Edited by onekidanddone

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fraurosena

@Howl, you're right! I erroneously thought it was deferred to the state of NY's office. That should teach me to read accurately before making assumptions.

Speaking of assumptions...

From my earlier post about Faux News:

2 hours ago, fraurosena said:

Napolitano explained that in this case, the lawyer is Cohen and his client is “his only client— the president of the United States.” [...]

“He works for Donald Trump the person, the Trump Organization and it’s various entities,” Napolitano said. “And that, as far as I understand from sources, is all he works for.

If it's true that the presidunce (and his organization) is his only client, then that would mean that the raid was related to a suspected criminal act – or acts, who says it can not be more than one? – by Cohen and/or the presidunce (and/or his organization).

No wonder the presidunce was off on a twitter rant as soon as he got up this morning.

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iweartanktops

I see we're dealing with the news as expected 

Screenshot_20180410-070924_Twitter.jpg

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